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June 13, 2024
Kampala Daily

Court stops takeover of businessman multi-billion properties

The Court of Appeal has granted businessman Haruna Sentongo relief and halted sale of his multi-billion properties in the Kampala city suburb of Mengo.

The properties in question are in Block 12, plots 538, 826 and 898, located in Mengo. The land is developed with a market.

In a ruling dated April 19, 2024, Justice John Oscar Kihika ruled that Sentongo has made out a case for the issuance of a temporary injunction restraining Diamond Trust Bank Uganda and Kenya Limited from selling or interfering with the property until the appeal is determined.

“An order of a temporary injunction is hereby issued restraining the respondents, their agents, representatives, nominees, assignees and/or successors in title from selling, transferring, alienating, evicting, dealing with and or in any way interfering with the applicant’s interest and possession of the said properties, pending determination of the appeal,” he ruled.

The judge noted that the appeal filed by the businessman raises serious questions which need to be determined by the court.

“The applicant has established that he has a prima facie case pending determination before this court,” Kihika ruled.

The judge noted that the applicant’s suit at the trial court was never heard on its merits having been dismissed under Order 17 Rule 4 of the Civil Procedure Rules for failure to file a trial bundle within the stipulated timelines.

According to Ssentongo, the failure was occasioned by the grant of the application for leave to amend his plaint and the bank’s application for further and better particulars.

Kihika, therefore, said Ssentongo would suffer irreparable damage if he is condemned unheard, contrary to Articles 28(1) and 44 (c) of the Constitution under which the right to a fair hearing is non-derogable.

The court heard that Ssentongo is currently in possession of the disputed property, a commercial building with various tenants carrying out business, and the sale of the property will be to his detriment.

“I believe the balance of convenience favours the applicant who is in possession and stands to be prejudiced if the suit property is sold,” the judge said.

At the hearing of the application, lawyer Derrick Bazekuketta represented Ssentongo while lawyer Stephen Zirnula represented the bank.

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